Let’s face it, being a single dad is one of the most difficult things to be on the planet.
Not only do we have many societal barriers that we must overcome – barriers like limited access to valuable resources that single moms are entitled to, being denied promotions at work and trouble dating or remarrying.
But it goes much deeper than that.
Single dads as a cohort face enormous stigmatization that includes being labeled as child molesters, weird or defected mentally, morally corrupt and so on and so forth.
As a result of all this misinformation and outright stereotypes, is it any wonder why single dads face unprecedented depression and a devalued sense of self-worth?
How to deal with depression as a single dad?
As I conducted my research into this topic – and through my own bout of temporary depression that left me unable to work for at least 6 months – I concluded that the way many single fathers have dealt with depression while making a full recovery is as follows:
- Seek professional help immediately
- Pay attention to your bloodwork
- Consider using small amounts of marijuana
- Don’t sweat the little stuff
- Consider using medical marijuana
- Take care of yourself physically
- Leverage the power of the internet
- Don’t feel guilty about some alone time
Certainly, you have options when dealing with depression as a single dad, so let’s take a moment and break down these choices and what all this means for you.
Seek Professional Help Immediately:
The first thing you should do is seek professional help with the first sign of depression.
The sad reality is that not many men – single or otherwise – will take the time to seek the professional help they need in order to make a recovery, and avoid their depression from spiraling out of control.
This is not only unfortunate but also unacceptable…
Seeking help could be through a family doctor, but most often seeking the mental help a man needs often comes through therapy or talk sessions.
Personally, and not to sound sexist as there are many qualified women out there who do tremendous work, but my preference would be to seek out a male therapist.
I think this is a better option because let’s face it, men are able to relate to other men better; there are exceptions to the rule but this is only my preference.
Check Your Testosterone Checked:
Having your testosterone checked along with other hormones would be a very good idea indeed considering that men begin to lose around 1-2% per year on average.
This may not seem like a lot, but consider that we are all wired differently so although you may be young and in good physical health if you suffer from low T it would be almost certain to affect your mental health and well-being.
It’s actually very simple to check. Typically, you will fast for the usual 12 – 14 hours and have your testosterone checked first thing in the morning when it’s at its peak.
From there, your doctor will advise if you should be on testosterone therapy or not.
I’m no medical expert, but there are scores of men who have really benefited from this type of therapy so you shouldn’t rule out this option.
Don’t Sweat The Little Stuff:
I know this is easier said than done especially when your little boy or girl keeps making the same old annoying sounds or their toys are never picked up despite you warning them over and over about the exact same thing.
What I found true for myself – and supported by many other single dads throughout forums and otherwise is that if you continually sweat the small stuff then it creates a snowball effect which, in turn, affects your mental health and state of mind.
As the old saying goes:
You should always stop to smell the roses
Accept that your little one is learning how to explore his body and the surroundings around him or her, and exploration is a natural part of the overall development.
This is not to say that they should never be disciplined when they are doing wrong, especially if they potentially could put themselves in harm’s way. But punishing them or pulling your hair out over every little thing is a great way to lose your sanity.
Consider Medical Marijuana As A Viable Option:
I have been using marijuana for decades-long before it became trendy, and long before we had other options other than smoking it.
Regardless of how used, there are countless studies indicating the positive benefit It has on stress reduction, mental health and other positive effects it has on the body and mind.
These days it’s a lot safer to use, and connoisseurs of the plant have way more options such as edibles, pills, candies, edibles and of course my favorite way vaporization.
I’m certainly not advocating that you turn into a stoner as that would be the antithesis of what a great dad is. Rather, try some 2 – 3 hours before bedtime, put on some music of watching a good flick and see how your body and mind react to its notorious numbing sensation and feel the stress literally melt away.
Take Care Of Yourself Physically:
If there’s one great way to battle depression and lack of self-worth its through good old healthy exercising and fitness in general.
I understand you’re probably very busy with a career, child care, running errands and other day-to-day essential things, but the research indicates that we can benefit immensely from exercising just 20 minutes per day most days of the week could be more beneficial than 45 minutes on the exercise bike if done correctly.
In fact, the journal of medicine and Science Sports and Exercise documented that:
men who did 13 minutes of HIIT burned more calories per minute and increased their VO2 max by 12.5 percent more than men who did steady-state cardio for 40 minutes.
That’s certainly great news for single dads having a difficult time with time management.
The other alternative is that you continue to suffer while improving your chance at a much shorter lifespan.
Personally, I want to be around for decades more helping to raise his grandkids as well.
Leverage The Power Of The Internet:
One of the most amazing things of the 21st century is the ability for folks to connect with one another and be part of an actual community where people can connect with each other regardless of geography.
Amazingly, people can stay in touch with friends and family, apply for jobs and a whole host of other opportunities that enhance our lives.
As a single dad facing depression, many are also turning to the internet to connect with other like-minded fathers through forums and virtual support groups to not only get the advice that they need to recover, but these groups allow folks to come together and develop solid friendships with other group members as well.
Don’t Feel Guilty About Some Alone Time:
Way too often I hear parents say that they feel guilty for taking some time away from their children, and often the feeling of regret and abandonment are common sentiments.
That said, we are not superhuman beings, and mentally it’s important to realize that in order to be the best we can be as parents it is too important that we take some time away from parenting.
As long as your child is perfectly cared for, and the person watching them is a trusted person then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go out with friends, or even take up a new hobby or sport.
Personally, I find that when I spend time away from my family I, in turn, become a much better parent.
I understand that each one of us is wired differently, however, that mental break away from all the family obligations really helps maintain a strong mental pace and unstoppable parental work ethic.
Depression is no joke, in fact, according to the latest research, the rise of depression and depression-like symptoms are vastly on the rise, and it shows no sign of slowing down.
That’s why it’s essential that, as singles dads, you follow the tips and advice within this post if you’re serious about learning how to deal with depression as a single dad.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your recovery will take some time as well.
Trust the process, and more importantly, believe in yourself. After all, your kids depend on you to take the first step!